Today I am Thankful…Sort of
From time to time I am asked if I practice what I write. My answer is generally something along the lines of “I am trying to do so.” The truth is most likely that I am simply trying but I do believe in what I write. Most of the time I back what I am saying with statistics and references so these are just random thoughts I dreamed about but real things backed up by experience and science and not just my own but those of others.
Today though, after posting about living a grateful life, I found my own words haunting me. “Do we thank those we dislike? Or do we just write the instances those people have done something nice for us as oddities? Do we consider ‘those people” as being evil and dismiss them from our acts and words of gratitude all together?’ There is an old Irish blessing that includes those we don’t like…or rather those that don’t like us. ‘May those who love us, love us; and those who don’t love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn’t turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles so we’ll know them by their limping.’ It takes a great deal of faith to pray for those we consider to be evil and yet, they are the very ones that need our hospitality.”
I had just posted that when I read an article that sorely tried my belief in those very words. A Washington Post headline “Racial realists…” topped an article that spoke of an “identitarian” and a group established to “oppose multiculturalism and mass immigration”. IT was referencing a political campaign which, in my humble opinion, had definitely reached a new level of mass hysteria and stupidity. The campaign’s latest ad was geared to “concentrate on his natural constituency, which is white people,” says one of the candidate’s biggest supporters. This man identifies himself as a “white nationalist write”.
The feelings the article and the video ad conjured up in me were not those of gratitude. Yet, based upon what I had just posted, I need to show some. I needed to live that life of gratitude I was encouraging everyone to do. I need to lead by example. It was not what I wanted to do. And yet, if I really believed in what I was writing, I had to find some gratitude in this article.
It is absurd that in 2016 someone needs to identify himself by color, any color. Someday I really hope we realize we are all part of the human race, colorful and diverse just as roses or puppies are – remarkable in our differences but stronger because of them. That is the true reality. I am an American Indian so I feel very strongly that these so-called “white racial realists” might want to remember the first wave of multiculturalism and mass immigration to this country was from the Europeans who, by legal definition are Caucasian or, in terms used in the 1700-1900’s, “white”. They were once the very poster children of that which they now oppose.
So where is the gratefulness? How and for what can I be thankful? First of all, I am grateful for the Bill of Rights, those first ten amendments to the US Constitution that allowed this story to be published and disseminated to the masses. Freedom of the press is not found in every nation and in the USA, writing this story will not get the reporter imprisoned nor on someone’s list to be annihilated.
Secondly, I am living in a nation that, while these candidates have their flaws, does promote and guarantee free elections. Voting rights extend to those over a certain age, regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnicity. In two days I will go to the voting locations in my own area and vote in a local election without fear of retribution and without needed to register with one party or another. My vote will be private and whomever I vote for – well, that decision will be purely and solely mine to make. It will not affect where I live or where I worship or what I will be able to purchase to eat as it is in some countries.
Third, I can express my opinion about this article, again without fear for my life. I am grateful today that my nation has done well in the 2016 Rio Olympics but more grateful that while this article illustrates the impaired thinking of some, it also illustrates the we are free to think whatever we like. The freedom that allowed our Olympic delegation to encompass all races and religions, with some competing wearing religious garments, also allows us to be different in our thinking. While that diversity of thought and campaigning may seem absurd to me, it illustrates our freedoms that we so proudly proclaim and fervently cherish.
Reading this article brought up some anger but in the end, the anger has been overwritten by gratitude. My opinions about the article have not changed but I hope to promote my own in a positive, grateful manner. After all, for every storm there is a rainbow for which to give thanks. For every tear, somewhere someone is smiling. In every trial, there is a blessing, even in political campaigns. There is always a reason to be thankful and for that, today, I am grateful.